Posted by: arieliondotcom | July 25, 2013

Successful Shame (Psalm 6)

Successful Shame (Psalm 6)

There is a saying that if you think you’re humble, you’re not. In order to be truly humbled you must be sincerely shamed by thinking yourself more powerful than you are and then being put in your place. And that place is not better than you are, which is false pride, or worse than you are, which is obsession. Each of us is on a step on a stairway. It may be a different step for the stairway of intelligence than talent or appearance or ability. True humility keeps us on our proper step, not higher or lower.

Psalm 6 is David crying out to GOD in shame. He has gotten out of his place and GOD has disciplined him to show him he needs GOD. And that is always the point of discipline. GOD begs His people throughout Scripture to listen willingly, and not make Him put a bridle in their mouths to make them obey. In order to get the Apostle Paul’s attention in Acts JESUS literally knocks Paul off Paul’s ass…the four-legged kind. JESUS told Paul that Paul was only hurting himself by resisting, like a donkey who had to be forced with sharp objects to go forward instead of doing it willingly. David is being disciplined like that and cries out to GOD for mercy.

Discipline is not always circumstantial or physical. It may simply be Spiritual. But, as with David, it is sometimes all three. He is aching, afraid, spiritually weary & desperate. He is sincerely humbled and comes to the LORD for help.

David also reminds GOD that David can’t praise him from the grave, Sheol.
There are actually two versions of the after-life in this psalm.

Sheol is the physical side of death, a dead body. Literally the underworld, under the dirt, the grave. David knows there is life after death for Believers but it doesn’t feel like it. He doesn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. He only sees a dark hole where his dead body will be. Without the light of forgiveness, David knows there is nothing good after death. Only darkness. And, according to the Jewish interpretation of this psalm, something much worse.

They say that “it is always darkest before the dawn.” We must all come to that point where we realize that we have no hope beyond the grave without the forgiveness of GOD. And that with every breath, every heartbeat, every swallow of food, every microsecond of brain activity we are teetering on the brink of our grave. The slightest body change can throw us into the grave.

Only that shock is strong enough to send us to GOD for a new Spiritual heart. And we are saved, not for our own sake, but because the Nature of GOD is to Love. And Love always provides a way.

David finds that way. At his most hopeless point he feels the forgiveness provided by GOD’s Love. He knows he has been forgiven.

That’s not how the psalm ends though. We mentioned a second element of the afterlife. And we mentioned the Jewish interpretation of this psalm.

The second element of the afterlife is Gehenna. That was the name of the trash heap outside of the walls of Jerusalem where trash burned day and night. It is the word used repeatedly by JESUS Himself for Hell, where flames continually burn and worms continually feed on whatever was unfortunate enough to fall or be thrown there.

The Jewish idea of Hell is where souls suffer until their sins are paid for. But there is a problem. There is no way out because they forever obsess over themselves and the sins that got them there. They realize they deserve to be there.

For Jewish folks this psalm ends with judgment day. The verses that say that David’s enemies will be ashamed and turn back and be shamed again, Jewish interpreters interpret as a picture of Gehenna, Hell.

And the New Testament supports this. Those souls who refused to feel that shame for their sin that had them beg like David did for a new heart will wake up after the grave in Gehenna, the eternal trash heap JESUS warns of. They will weep and mourn, gnash their teeth and repent in hell but when GOD shows them their sins again they will be so ashamed again they will turn back to the flames.

There is no amount of suffering that will pay our way out of Hell because we deserve to be there. And half our eternal torment will be knowing we deserve to be there. The Jewish people see Hell as an eternal cycle of burning and torment of our own making for shame of deserving that torment for having never been truly shamed to repentance in Life.

JESUS said the only hope for Life past the grave is to come to Him in right repentance. That is because He never sinned and willingly suffered Hell for us.

Peter betrayed JESUS. He was broken hearted over it but turned back to JESUS for forgiveness. Like David, he found forgiveness in JESUS the Messiah, the Messiah David looked forward to.

Judas betrayed JESUS and when he realized what he had done he was ashamed. But it wasn’t shame over his own need of a Savior. He didn’t turn to GOD. Instead he had the shame of Gehenna, obsession with himself, and hanged himself until his rotted corpse fell off the noose and burst like a balloon on the ground paid for with the 30 pieces of silver of his betrayal. His eternal torment is the fires of eternal shame and worms of perpetual regret.

We each stand at the edge of our graves today dug by our own sin. Will our sincere regret have us turn to GOD’s love as David did in JESUS Christ’s forgiveness and repentance in the new life only He offers? Or will our self absorption have us turn from Him and fall into the pit of Hell?


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